Black churches led the fight for civil rights in the United States. If it hadn’t been for pastors and churches leading the Montgomery bus boycott, it most likely never would have happened.
It was the REV. Martin Luther King who led the March on Washington in 1963.
If you want to get elected as a liberal Democrat, you better make your way to the black churches in America.
It’s always been OK for black religious leaders to get involved in politics, even to the point of endorsing candidates. We all know it happens.
A new report has come out charging that there’s been some IRS hanky-panky with Eric Holder deep in the panky:
“Attorney General Eric Holder and IRS officials advised black ministers on how to engage in political activity during the 2012 election without violating their tax-exempt status.”
This is a non-story. Democrat politicians have been endorsed from the pulpit for decades by black pastors.
The evil part of this story is that the IRS has been harassing conservative groups on Holder and Obama’s watch and the media and usual secular suspects have been notoriously silent. Of course, they also were silent when Democrats used black churches to push Democrat candidates.
On September 25, 1994, Bill Clinton stumped for the former Democrat governor of New York, Mario Cuomo. “Rocking to resounding gospel strains, President Clinton went to a black church in the heart of Harlem today to rouse a vital constituency to turn out its vote for Gov. Mario M. Cuomo.”1
Clinton went to the Bible in his appeal to the members of Bethel AME Church in an effort to reelect the embattled governor. Clinton told the congregation: “Do not lose heart. Show up, talk to the people in your neighborhood, tell them to show up. Scripture says we’re supposed to be good citizens, too. Mario Cuomo is the heart that you must not lose.”2
An Associated Press report called the President’s antics “Bible-thumping politics.”3 Clinton’s message was decidedly religious and partisan, as was Governor Cuomo’s remarks as he “also cited religious themes and maxims.”4
Why didn’t the press, the ACLU, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, People for the American Way, and the IRS cry foul? Compare this with the IRS ruling that revoked the tax-exempt status of the Church at Pierce Creek in Conklin, New York, for taking what it considered a partisan stance in a presidential election.5
Weren’t the President and the former Governor of New York, along with other Democrat attendees, engaged in mixing religion and politics? Where were the trumpeting cries of “separation of church and state”? For example, why didn’t Michael Gartner, who wrote a column for USA Today on why religion and politics do not mix, criticize Bill Clinton for mixing religion and politics?6
A perceptive letter writer noted the oversight: “Where is the outrage from the national media and the American Civil Liberties Union? Gartner’s omission was just the latest example of the conspiracy of silence.”7
- Todd S. Purdum, “At Harlem Church, Clinton Tells Cuomo to Keep Going,” New York Times (September 26, 1994). [↩]
- Purdum, “At Harlem Church, Clinton Tells Cuomo to Keep Going,” [↩]
- Barry Schweid, “Clinton defends U.S. mission in Haiti,” Marietta Daily Journal (September 26, 1994), 2A. [↩]
- Purdum, “At Harlem Church, Clinton Tells Cuomo to Keep Going.” [↩]
- See Tony Mauro, “Politicking costs church its tax-exempt standing,” USA Today (April 18, 1995), 3A. [↩]
- Michael Gartner, “Religion and politics just don’t mix,” USA Today (October 4, 1994), 11A. [↩]
- John K. Brubaker, “Clinton breaches religion wall,” USA Today October 7, 1994), 10A. [↩]